Dear Sociology and American Culture graduates who I had in classes this year,

Normally I would have been with you, as a Marshall, wearing my University of Chicago Ph D robe, just like in this photo, at your commencement.  So here I am, wishing you the best in this new beginning to your life.

Whether or not you knew it, you have had an excellent Commencement speaker with you now, everyday on CNN.  Dr. Sanjay Gupta, CNN's chief medical correspondent, is a University of Michigan Alumni.  A few years ago, when I was also a Marshall, we gave him an Honorary Degree (our highest honor -- I wish there was something more we could give him now).  As a Commencement speaker, he told the audience how his mother and father hat met at U of M, as graduate students.  And he was conceived in University Towers, he said!

The son of immigrants, Sanjay Gupta became a doctor, like his father, but after practicing as a neurosurgeon for some years decided to use his knowledge of medicine in a different capacity -- as a public servant that, especially during this health crisis, calmy helps and guides others.  I do believe that each of you will gradually find your way to becoming what you are, what you are most capable at, and how you can best be of service to others. Your Michigan education will be an important rung on that ladder of knowledge and accomplishment that takes the better part of a lifetime.

CONGRATS to all of you!  It has been my pleasure to have you as a student in my classes this year. Do remember us at Michigan and stay in touch, helping us to become a better institution, if you can.

My best wishes,
Professor Silvia Pedraza